Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Act) amended the Farmland Protection Program (FPP), established by the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, and reauthorized by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. In the implementing rule making, the program was named the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) to best describe the types of lands the program seeks to protect.
The FRPP is a voluntary program to help farmers and ranchers preserve their agricultural land. The Program provides matching funds to State, Tribal and local governments, and non-governmental organizations with farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements.
The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) system helps state and local officials make sound decisions about land use. Combined with Forest measures and Rangeland parameters, LESA can provide a technical framework to numerically rank land parcels based on local resource evaluation and site considerations
To qualify the farm or ranch must:
Be privately owned land.
Contain at least 50 percent of prime, unique, statewide, or locally important soils OR
Contain historic or archeological sites that are:
Consensus determined by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), or the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO), or
Formally nominated to the national register AND
Be part of a pending offer from a state, tribal, or local government, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) agricultural land protection program.
Have a conservation plan on Highly Erodible Land (HEL) acres.
Contain sufficient acres to sustain agriculture production.
Include eligible lands such as cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland, and forest land that are part of the agriculture operation.
Involve land owners who do not exceed the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions.
Montana accepts new applications throughout the year. The 2013 deadline has been set for February 22, 2013. Funding decisions will be made and all funds obligated by June 28, 2013.
Under FRPP, NRCS solicits applications from federally recognized Indian tribes, states, units of local government, and NGOs. Land owners apply through a recognized entity such as one of these.
Application Materials and Information
The following documents require Adobe Reader. If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Dennis Dellwo at 406-587-6748.
FRPP General Manual
Appraised Standards for Technical Reviews can be found at 519.105
Specification for Appraisals of Real Property for FRPP can be found at 519.102
FRPP Deed criteria can be found at 519.64
Entity Application Procedures
An entity shall submit an application to the State Conservationist in order to see if the entity is eligible to participate in FRPP. The Chief of NRCS will determine whether an entity is a certified entity based on Part 1491.4(d) of the Interim Final Rule for FRPP.
The State Conservationist will notify the entity about whether or not the entity has been determined to be eligible or certified. A cooperative agreement will be entered into at this time.
Entities with cooperative agreement entered into after Jan 16, 2009 will not have to resubmit an annual application for the duration of the cooperative agreement. They may reapply when the cooperative agreement expires.
Entities may submit throughout the fiscal year, to the State Conservationist, applications for parcels with supporting documentation, to be scored, ranked, and considered for funding.
When funds are available, the State Conservationist shall announce a ranking cut-off date (no less than 60 days prior to the date) on which ranking of parcels shall occur. More than one ranking period may be held.
At the end of the federal fiscal year (September 30) the list of pending, unfunded parcels will be cancelled unless the entity requests they be considered for funding in the next fiscal year. Entities must submit a new list of parcels each fiscal year in order to be considered.
Partners that Help People Help the Land
Following is a partial list of NGOs through which land owners in Montana can apply for conservation easements under FRPP. Land owners can also apply through State, Tribal and local governments.
Prior-Year FRPP (Archives)
For More Information
National Web site - Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
For more information and updates about the FRPP, also contact one of the Montana NRCS personnel listed below.
Dennis Dellwo, Program Specialist
Tim Ouellette, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs